EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX rise as U.S. inflation data dents dollar

Susan Mathew
·3 min read

* Mexican peso hits two-month high * Russian rouble jump ~2% * Argentina's inflation expected to heat up again in March * GPA SA rises on potential IPO related to e-comm unit (Updates prices) By Susan Mathew April 13 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies rallied on Tuesday against a dollar weakened by U.S. inflation data signaling the U.S. Federal Reserve would stay easy, while Russia's rouble jumped after reports of a call between Washington and Moscow. Brazil's real firmed 0.5%, while Mexico's peso hit a two-month high. Higher copper prices bolstered top producer Chile's peso, which was up 0.7% after two straight days of losses. The rouble's recovery gained pace, up almost 2% in late trade, after reports that U.S. President Joe Biden had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the market kept a close watch on geopolitical tensions between Moscow and the West. The dollar fell after data showed U.S. consumer prices increased by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March and underlying inflation picked up. But market experts noted that the Fed's stance on inflation had helped the market price in the data. "It wasn't a blowout number by any stretch, it is higher than the expectation by a tenth of a percent, but (Fed Chair Jerome) Powell did a very good job of jawboning," said Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors in Jupiter, Florida. Meanwhile, JPMorgan recommended selling emerging market currencies on Tuesday, citing rising coronavirus cases and slower vaccination rollouts in developing economies as one of the reasons. Brazil added an additional 1,480 people to its COVID-19 death toll on Monday, as a looming investigation of how the government has handled the outbreak puts increased pressure on right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. In Peru, the sol currency fell about 0.3% a day after a socialist surge in presidential elections roiled markets. Socialist Pedro Castillo and conservative Keiko Fujimori are projected to go into a run-off vote. A Reuters poll showed that Argentina's stubbornly high inflation is expected to heat up again in March, advancing 4% in the month, driven mainly by food and education costs. The country is expected to see 46% inflation this year, a recent central bank poll showed. The Argentine peso held steady, helped by central bank intervention. Among stocks, Brazil's Bovespa erased losses to trade higher led by consumer and healthcare stocks. Food retailer GPA SA rose 4.3% after the announcement of a potential IPO related to its e-commerce unit CNOVA. Colombian stocks extended losses to a fourth day, while Chile's IPSA index posted its worst day in three weeks. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1900 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1324.61 0.17 MSCI LatAm 2337.77 -0.27 Brazil Bovespa 119226.70 0.35 Mexico IPC 47441.37 0.19 Chile IPSA 4894.10 -1.13 Argentina MerVal 47759.60 -0.728 Colombia COLCAP 1313.04 -0.36 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.6944 0.53 Mexico peso 20.0890 0.19 Chile peso 707.9 0.71 Colombia peso 3666.75 -0.09 Peru sol 3.6277 -0.30 Argentina peso 92.6200 -0.04 (interbank) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York Editing by Paul Simao and Grant McCool)